Taking Things Personally

In his book “Leaders Eat Last,”* Simon Sinek told a story about a former undersecretary of defense who came to a revelation about the differences between personhood and position.

The man was invited to speak at a large conference. He was met at the airport, escorted to his hotel room where he had already been checked in, and picked up the next morning to be carried to the conference. He was taken to a waiting room and offered a cup of coffee in a beautiful ceramic cup. These things happened while he was still undersecretary of defense…

The next year, he was invited to speak at the same conference. This time, he was no longer undersecretary. He caught a cab from the airport to the hotel he was going to stay in. He checked himself in and went to his room alone. The next morning, he caught a cab to the conference venue. He found his way back stage and asked a tech if there was any coffee. The man pointed to a coffee maker on a table against the wall. The former undersecretary took a styrofoam cup and poured himself some of the coffee.

He realized that the previous year, he had not deserved the ceramic cup any more than he did when he got the styrofoam cup. The ceramic cup was given to the position that he was in – not to him.

Jesus told some people He was preaching to one day to honor the seat of Moses that the leaders of the synagogue sat in, but not to honor them or follow their lives as examples of how to live (Matthew 23:1-3). He also said that His disciples would be hated because He was hated (Matthew 10:22).

We shouldn’t be hurt by taking attacks personally. Nor should we be puffed up by taking honor personally. We should walk where He leads us, and receive from Him the honor prophesied in Psalm 91:

Because he is lovingly devoted to Me,
I will deliver him;
I will exalt him because he knows My name.
When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
I will satisfy him with a long life
and show him My salvation.
(Psalm 91:14-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible ®©)

(* ©2014 SinekPartners LLC, published by Portfolio / Penguin NY NY)